Age 65 is the standard for being labeled a senior citizen. If you turn 65 this year, you were born in 1956. The country and the world have changed a lot since you got here. Let’s take a look at some of the big differences, and a few of the similarities, too.
1956 Pop Culture
The New York Giants were the NFL champions after beating the Chicago Bears 47-7 in the championship game. Elvis Presley appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and entered the US music charts for the first time with Heartbreak Hotel. If you wanted to head out to the movies, The Ten Commandments hit the theaters, directed by Cecil B. DeMille.
Some things change, and some things stay the same, however. The New York Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 4-3 in the World Series, with a 9-0 game 7 win.
Politics and World Affairs
Dwight Eisenhower won presidential re-election, defeating Adlai Stevenson. Congress approved the Highway Act, which allowed for the construction of the interstate highway system throughout the US.
Things were noisy overseas. Fidel Castro began the Cuban revolution. The USSR began the official policy of de-Stalinization, while Egypt seized the Suez Canal.
What Everyday Life Looked Like
As Americans began making more, 1 in 3 high school graduates began attending college. The average yearly wages were $4,450 and a house cost $11,700 on average. If you wanted your own car to get to work, it might cost around $2,050. Chrysler Corporation offered an under-dash mounted record player, but the option was discontinued by 1957.
If you needed to get your date to the movies, a gallon of gas would cost about .22 cents. Don’t worry, if you needed insurance, there’s a still notorious insurance agency that held you in good hands. All State had the same jingle then, too.
James Dean and John Wayne were big names in the movies. For those with a more refined taste, My Fair Lady opened on Broadway that year.
If you were looking for more familiarity, 1956 is the year that NBC introduced the multi-color peacock logo. They did it to encourage people to buy color TVs from RCA, who owned the network.
Personal computing was far from a thing yet, but early industrial computers existed. IBM came out with a disk drive with 3.75 MB of storage that year. It weighed over 2,000 pounds and had to be moved using forklifts. To put that in perspective, a 2-4 megapixal digital image will take up about 1 MB on a memory card, and all of that easily fits in your pocket today.